KLM Royal Dutch Airlines
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- KLM Royal Dutch Airlines
P.O. Box 7700
1117 ZL Schiphol
- Main hub
- Amsterdam Airport Schiphol
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Based in Amsterdam, KLM is the national airline of the Netherlands. Part of the Air France-KLM Group, KLM operates an extensive network which includes services within Europe and to Asia, Africa, North America, Central and South America and the Middle East. KLM is a founding member of the SkyTeam alliance.
Location of KLM Royal Dutch Airlines main hub (Amsterdam Airport Schiphol)
1,971 total articles
191 total articles
A restructuring undertaken by Brazil’s second largest carrier Gol at the beginning of 2012, underpinned by domestic capacity reductions, bore some fruit in key financial and operational metrics during 2013. But profitability remains elusive for the once high-flying airline as it recorded its third consecutive annual loss in 2013.
Gol did shrink its losses in 2013 as rationalising supply with demand within Brazil helped the airline gain traction in its revenue and yield performance. But the major challenge that has plagued Gol for more than year – weakness of the BRL against the USD – shows no sign of abating in 2014. Gol also expects fuel costs to rise in 2014, further pressuring its financial results.
Even with the overhang of the all-too-familiar currency and fuel cost challenges, Gol is making network changes that reflect the still tenuous environment in Brazil. It is continuing to expand its international network with a planned resumption of service to Santiago and aims to introduce service to Miami from Campinas through Santo Domingo. The airline is also receiving a cash infusion from Air France-KLM, increasing its ties to the SkyTeam Alliance.
An impending three day strike by Lufthansa pilots – described by the carrier as "one of the biggest walkouts" in its history – highlights what continues to be a challenging labour relations environment for Europe's legacy carriers. In spite of years of competition from LCCs and cost efficient long-haul players, and after significant progress with restructuring programmes, such disputes remain common.
Labour-related issues are affecting a number of other airlines, including Austrian Airlines, Air France, Aer Lingus, SAS and Finnair. Even LCC Norwegian Air Shuttle faces key strategic questions in connection with the use of low-cost labour to grow its nascent long-haul business. In general, however, LCCs enjoy a less unionised environment and greater labour flexibility.
It is not uncommon for labour unions to become more militant as the profit cycle picks up, but airlines cannot always hide behind this excuse. As IAG CEO Willie Walsh has said*, "it is not about unions, but management. Management needs determination and can do it if it wants to…Cost creep is requested by unions, but made by management”.
Garuda Indonesia formally enters SkyTeam on 5-Mar-2014, becoming the fifth flag carrier in the fast-growing Southeast Asian region to join a global alliance. With Garuda, SkyTeam surpasses Star as the largest alliance in Southeast Asia by seat capacity with about a 16% share compared to 14% for Star and 10% for oneworld.
For Garuda, entering SkyTeam is an important component of the carrier’s new business plan, which also includes fleet renewal and expansion, product enhancements and ambitious growth of its international network. SkyTeam will particularly help Garuda in Europe, a market the carrier is focusing on in 2014 with new non-stop services to Amsterdam and London.
For SkyTeam, Garuda significantly improves the alliance’s access to Southeast Asia, in particular the region’s largest market – Indonesia. SkyTeam now has members in two key fast-growing emerging ASEAN markets – Indonesia and Vietnam.
Air France-KLM’s 2013 results saw its operating result return to profit for only the second time in six years, but the operating margin of just 0.5% (and another net loss) highlights that its Transform restructuring programme still has work to do. A return to profit in the passenger business was instrumental in the improved group result, while the cargo segment remained in loss and the maintenance division continued to produce healthy results.
2014 will see a modest increase in ASKs of around 1% overall, down 2% on medium-haul and up 2% on long-haul. The strongest area of growth will be Latin America and the group’s position in that market should be enhanced by a newly announced partnership with GOL (including the acquisition by Air France-KLM for USD52 million of a 1.5% equity stake in the Brazilian carrier) that broadly mirrors SkyTeam partner Delta’s relationship with GOL.
The North Atlantic JV within SkyTeam delivers significant unit revenue benefits, but the deal with GOL expands Air France-KLM's options. This, and its indication that it is seeking to deepen its relationship with Etihad, are further signs that SkyTeam cannot satisfy all its needs.
Canada’s WestJet managed to grow FY2013 earnings by nearly 11% – in the same year it launched a new regional carrier, reconfigured its aircraft to offer an extended legroom section and introduced new fare bundles. The results are commendable given the debut of Encore in particular pressured WestJet’s unit revenue and yields during the latter half of 2013.
WestJet maintains a relatively positive view in the early days of 2014, supported by a recent 2% fare hike across its network that for the moment is being matched by its competitors and absorbed by the market. But the carrier is warning of cost headwinds during 2014 driven by a weakening of Canada’s currency against the US dollar and the acceleration of certain engine overhauls.
With a fairly decent balance sheet, WestJet should be able to withstand some of the potential economic challenges created by currency fluctuations that are driven by uncertainty in the emerging markets. But if conditions worsen, it may need to temper some of its growth plans in order to protect its consistent profitability.
Rome Fiumicino, the larger of the two airports serving the Italian capital, is emerging as a key battleground for European LCCs, in addition to being the last stronghold of struggling Alitalia. Ryanair and Vueling will increase their competition in the Italian domestic market, while easyJet and Vueling will encounter each other more in international markets from Rome. All three will pose a growing threat to Alitalia.
On 24-Jan-2014, easyJet announced the launch of five further international routes from Fiumicino this summer, after launching routes to Prague and Nantes in Dec-2013. Its expansion plans will see its capacity in Rome Fiumicino grow by one third in 2014. This follows the establishment at Fiumicino of a Ryanair base in late 2013 and expansion plans announced by Vueling at the airport.
Is there room for all the LCCs? – Norwegian Air Shuttle, Monarch, Wizz Air, Pegasus, NIKI and Germanwings are also present at Fiumicino. Will Alitalia be able to withstand the ever growing competitive pressure? Recalling Roman gladiatorial combat of ancient times, this could be a fight to the death.